Today we’ll follow our fictional friend, Joe, to visit his doctor for an annual check-up. Joe is the guy we see training all the time in the gym. He works out a lot and has an encyclopedic knowledge of every bodybuilding topic from diet to muscle physiology to training systems and techniques. He’s the go-to guy when other trainees in the gym want to know what they can do to get better results. But Joe is in for a bit of a shock when he finds out his family physician doesn’t share the same priorities that Joe has. These are some of the things Joe – and you – will never hear from your doctor.
“Joe, your BMI is great, your bodyfat is low and I can see you’ve put on some solid muscle. But I’m very concerned that it’s not ‘quality’ muscle. I’ve seen this before, people go to the gym and they pack on low-quality muscle. It’s a huge health problem. Is there any way you can change your training so you only gain high-quality muscle?”
I’m laughing while I type this but you and I both know people talk and write articles about this. They say you have to do a preacher curl this way or that way so it adds “quality muscle.” Uh-huh. Heaven forbid I hoist 1,000 lbs on the leg press using low-quality muscle mass.
Your Muscle Tissue
“Joe, we got the biopsies back from the lab and I’m afraid the news is not good. Your muscle tissue is healthy and shows signs of recent growth but your sarcoplasm is lagging behind in development. Having a low sarcoplasm to fiber ratio is deadly. Pfizer is working on a drug called ‘Sarcobol’ for this global scourge but it could be years until they have it ready. Is there any way you could train in the gym so that your sarcoplasm is encouraged to grow disproportionately faster than the rest of your muscle?”
You know some weightlifters must be half expecting this issue to come up at the doctor’s office because they spend so much time and effort talking and reading about it as if it was really, really important to proper health, physical development and longevity.
“Joe, remember those tests we had you do last time with our diagnostic strength testing machine? Well, it turns out that your muscle strength is not anywhere near your muscle size. I’ll be honest, I was personally impressed by your lean, 20-inch biceps but I was surprised to see that those arms are actually as weak as kittens. It looks like you’ve only been training for muscle size and not for muscle strength. That is a major health risk.”
You’ll never hear that from a physician, but boy oh boy do people fret about it in gyms around the world. Of course, it never actually happens, but that doesn’t stop the worry and discussions.
“And, Joe, there’s more bad news from those strength tests we ran. It turns out that your weak range strength has not improved at all since we tested last year. You’re a walking time bomb, Joe! Weak range strength is the #1 hallmark of a healthy human and I am very worried that you are not producing more power in your weakest ranges of motion. Is lagging-weak-range-strength-syndrome (LWRSS) in your family history, Joe?”
We all know that Joe and everyone else will never hear those things from a responsible physician. Because none of it matters. Joe’s health and everyone else’s benefits enormously from productive, drug-free strength training. Strength training lowers blood pressure and improves cardiac function, increases natural hormone secretion, increases bone density, reduces bodyfat and a lot more.Those are the things a physician – and you – should care about. Those are real quality of life and longevity metrics that do matter. That’s why we lift weights!
The crap that gets passed around in gyms as important to training is ridiculous. I only wish more people would call a spade a shovel and help bring a stop to the sappy, harebrained tactics and techniques that get passed off as important to proper training.
Building Muscle is Dead Simple.
Building muscle requires no secret knowledge. You just respect the three principles I talk about on this page and everything else falls into place. These principles will work for 100% of healthy people and have worked for a million years. Ask your doctor. (Note: The author is currently in a beta human trial of Pfizer’s other experimental drug, Sarco-casm.)